Going into reading The Housekeeper and the Professor, I assumed that there would be romance. Actually, I assumed it would mainly be romance. I assumed that the professor would be younger and the housekeeper would be older. Neither of my assumptions were true, and it was a pleasant surprise. This story was extremely bittersweet. I love the bond between the Housekeeper and the Professor, the Housekeeper and the Son, the Son and the Professor, and all three of them! The progression from complete stranger to integral parts of each others' lives seemed so natural. Ultimately, the only character I didn't like was the sister-in-law (I disliked her from the very beginning) and I especially disliked her relationship with the Professor. I feel like her part in the story was completely unnecessary and even detracted from the feel of the novel in some instances.
One aspect of the book that I especially liked was the fact that Ms. Ogawa did not name her characters. Normally when characters are named, it gives stories an outside-looking-in feel. By leaving her characters nameless, Ms. Ogawa made her novel feel more intimate.
Ultimately, I could not put this book down. The Housekeeper and the Professor is a must read. I gave it 5 out of 5 stars because even the parts I didn't like were still pretty good.